The Memorial Day wreath-laying service began with the East Alabama Civic Chorale singing the national anthem before being led in prayer by Auburn United Methodist Church Senior Minister Cory Smith.
“We thank you, oh Lord, that you have given us the gift of this holy land, the United States of America,” Smith said. “We praise you for this day when we can celebrate those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
Mayor Bill Ham Jr. then thanked those in attendance as well as those who attended the 19th Annual Mayor’s Memorial Day Breakfast earlier that morning.
“Please remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can all be here today,” Ham said. “We all are here to be able to enjoy family and fellowship. As you go through this weekend with this being a holiday, please remember why it’s a holiday. And every day I would ask, as I always do, thank a veteran.”
Auburn High School student Joshua McLeod played “Taps” on the trumpet, filling the hot stagnant air with sounds suited for somber reflection as the Auburn University Naval ROTC Color Guard lowered the flags to half-staff to pay tribute to the lives lost.
After Ham and Army Spc. E-5 Carey Owen, recipient of the Distinguished Veteran
The ceremony ended with U.S. Navy veteran Dan Drummond playing “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.
Peggy Stelpflug, the mother of the late U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Billy Stelpflug, who died in 1983 as a result of a
Stelpflug comes to Auburn Memorial Day Service every year to honor her son.
“You learn to live with it, and certainly you carry that emotion, so it’s just learning to live with it,” Stelpflug said. “Since then, it was a very important day and one that I’ve always wanted to be involved in.”